Itaconic acid (IA) a promising organic acid with a wide range of industrial and biomedical applications was produced in this study by submerged fermentation using two fungi; Aspergillus terreus ATCC 20542 and Aspergillus niger CBS 513.88. An agro-based waste, banana peel (BP) (Musa sapientum) served as substrate. The proximate analysis of the BP was also determined. The BP substrate was pretreated by alkali hydrolysis and used as substrate in a mineral salts medium in submerged fermentation. Fermentation conditions were: pH 5.0; 1% inoculum; 10% substrate concentration; temperature 25±2°C for 7 days. Carboxylmethylcellulose (CMC) was used as control. Fermentation conditions were varied to optimize the yield of IA. The parameters which gave the highest yields were thereafter combined in a single fermentation. Results of the proximate analysis of the BP showed carbohydrate 57.80%, crude protein 12.72%, crude fibre 8.37%, crude fat 3.80%, ash 4.02%, and moisture 13.29%. The yields of IA produced by A. terreus and A. niger were 65.3±0.20 g/L and 72.5±0.17 g/L respectively on Day 5 of fermentation. After optimization, IA yield by A. terreus and A. niger was 109.43 ±0.24 g/L and 137.2 ±0.37 g/L respectively on Day 4. These results support the use of BP as a suitable substrate for IA production.
Keywords: Itaconic acid, Banana peel, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus niger, fermentation
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